The Milwaukee Penguins

The Milwaukee Penguins is the Division 1A collegiate football team for Milwaukee College. We're a school "known for its academics." This is a record of our accomplishments, on the field and off.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Game 5: vs. Wisconsin Badgers

University of Wisconsin - Madison Badgers (2-1) @ Milwaukee College Penguins (0-4)

Our homecoming game. People were keyed up all around our fair city. I biked around in the heat and people were tensed with excitement. Sure, they went about their business in the usual manner, but I knew what's in their heads: the Milwaukee College Penguins versus their in-state rivals the Wisconsin Badgers. #117 versus #36.

When it came down to the game, we didn't disappoint. We won the coin toss, elected to receive, and then proceeded down the field with a masterful and excruciatingly long drive. Five and a half minutes. Three third-downs converted to firsts. Ross (QB #1) couldn't miss. She connected on her first eight passes! Fittingly, Wetzel (HB #47) caps off a drive with a run up the middle.

How would Wisconsin respond? Starting on their 28 yard line, they connected on passes for 11 yards, then 4, then 25. A minute later they're in the red-zone. Twice they took shots into the end-zone. Bennett (CB #10) showed me why she's the number one Corner Back. Covering their best Wide Receiver, she batted away both passes.

They have to settle for a field-goal. We score a field-goal in our next possession. Remarkably, the game then became a defensive struggle. The first half would end 10-3 in our favor.

At the half, they only had 24 yards rushing. Their average yards rushing per game thus far this season was 261!

We continued to trade scoreless possessions to begin the 2nd half. Then, with 5:30 left to play in the 3rd, the Badgers get the tying score. But we didn't break. With a minute left to go in the third, we put together a drive that found us on the 9 yard-line. Third-and-two. Ross audible-ing through the myriad of plays to get us that first down. Running Back Streak. Half Back Lead. Triple Option. Back to Running Back Streak. Kid was going nuts trying to mess with the Badgers' heads. From the shot-gun, she dropped back seven steps as both Wetzel and Ciraldo rushed to the end-zone. Time enough for their Outside Line Backer to hit her as she's about to throw the ball. The ball popped out - it's recovered by Wisconsin - and they ruled it a fumble. No forward progress. They deemed she wasn't in the act of throwing. Hello, Tom Brady?

And so we took the 10-10 deadlock into the 4th.

That's where all hell broke lose. Wisconsin finally found its legs. 39 yards rushing up until then. In the 4th quarter alone, they amassed 136 yards on the run. Their halfback was just too fast; catching passes in mid-gallop, his speed was just too much for my secondary populated with poets and curators and Co-op volunteers.

We couldn't keep up. Even though Columbus had her break-out game (4 catches for 84 yards) and Montgomery continued her excellent play (5 catches for 53 yards) - even Ross had a nice 19-yard run - we couldn't match Wisconsin's better athleticism. Time and time again, their defense made one huge play to stop a drive. Whether it be keying on Wetzel, or sacking Ross, they did it. And that's why they're heading back into the AP Top 25.

With a minute left, and backed up against our end-zone, down three touchdowns, Ross - again under pressure - threw up an errant pass that their Outside Line Backer easily caught and returned the ten or so yards back for a touchdown. That was tough. That game was already lost but to have that done to you? I felt bad for Ross, who looked like she was going to heave on the sidelines.

With only our pride to play for, we refused to run out the crowd. Less than a minute left and we were aiming to score. But it was too much for Ross, who had to leave the game after yet another tackle as she was throwing the ball. The score-keeper listed her departure as due to an "abdominal strain." Athletes just want to play, and here's as good a time as any to publicly state that Ross played the entire game with an upset stomach. This was her last homecoming!

In came plucky Sophomore QB Root (QB #5) for the final 30 seconds. Never saying die, and as our thanks to the fans who never left the stands no matter how lopsided the game became, Root threw a 30-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock to Beaumont (WR). While it wasn't exactly a bullet - the ball was actually headed towards Ciraldo, but it was tipped off his fingertips, then off a defender's fingers before it fell into Beaumont's hands - it did give the fans something to smile about. On top of that, we ran a fake extra-point kick and made the 2-point conversion: Root passing to Khalafian to finish the scoring.

Take that Badgers.


score: 38 - 18
first downs: 10 - 20
total offense: 365 - 357
rushes - yards: 17 - 175 --- 37 - 79
comp-att-TD: 9 22 - 2 --- 22- 37 - 1
passing yards: 190 - 278
sacked: 1 - 3
turnovers: 1 - 2
fumbles - lost: 0 - 0 --- 4 - 1
intercepted: 1 - 1
t.o.p: 9:33 - 22:27


Ross (QB #1) 113.8 rating 21-35 for 248 yards, 1 INT
Wetzel (HB #47) 19-59 rush, 1 TD; 5-57 yards rec, 3-30 yds kick returns
Montgomery (WR #15) 5-53 rec
Columbus (WR) 4-84 rec
Buccheri (RG #59) 5 pancakes


R. Umali (ROLB #50) 3 tackles (1 for loss), 1 pass deflect
K. Anderson (SS #26) 2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflect
Bennett (CB #10) 2 tackles, 1 pass deflect, 3-65 yds kick returns, 1-32 punt return
D. Leplae (CB #16) 2 tackles
Mikulay (LE #45) 1 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack

Notes: I'll have to list Ross as "questionable" for our next game. Mister Finner (WR #83) broke his thumb in the 3rd quarter but gamely came back by the 4th. It was his non-catching hand.


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